Girl Scouts AZ

Raising Arizona Kids

real families | real stories | real life

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

App defines special education terms

spedmobile special education

Screen shot of SpEd Terms app on iPhone

From ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) to zonular fibers*, the SpEd Terms app provides definitions for more than 700 special education terms and acronyms.

Steve Isham, MA, LBSW, of Avondale, wrote the content for the app. Isham has been involved in nearly every aspect of special education during his 39-year career in the Valley. He has been a classroom teacher and school principal; he also has worked in child advocacy.

Isham currently teaches special education methods classes at the University of Phoenix and other community colleges. He has published a book, Child and Family Advocacy: The Complete Guide to Child Advocacy and Education for Parents, Teachers, Advocates, and Social Workers, and has an upcoming book on inclusion in the classroom.

Isham and a former student at University of Phoenix, Rory Christian, formed a company, SpedMobile, to produce and market the app, which is available for Apple iOS and Android devices for 99 cents.

Christian taught special education in the Valley and was the special education administrator at North High School in Phoenix. He is currently in Atlanta teaching special education and working at his motion picture production company, Media528 Entertainment. He and Isham have a script ready to make an instructional movie about the rights, provisions and procedures related to special education—they just need funding.

Isham says he has attended thousands of IEP (Individual Education Plan) conferences where the parents, teachers and/or administrators are not up to speed on the terms in use at the conference. Consequently, they may not know what they are agreeing to in the IEP. He says people often smile and nod their heads politely as if being to spoken to in a foreign language they don’t understand when they hear special education terms and acronyms used.

There are plenty of principals and school district administrators who, though they may have PhDs, have only had one class—introduction to special education—during their education coursework, says Isham. They could use an app to bring them up to speed on special education terminology. Parents especially need to know what a school has planned for their child and what to expect from all parties involved.

The app is straightforward and easy to use. Browse an alphabetical listing of terms or use the search function for a specific term.


*An ABA research-based method for supporting teaching children with certain disabilities, most commonly children with autism or autism spectrum disorders. Zonular Fibers keep the lens of the eye in place.

Tags: , , ,


Daniel Friedman

Daniel Friedman is a staff writer and photographer for RAISING ARIZONA KIDS.

2 Responses

  1. Rory Christian says:

    Thanks for interviewing Steve about this app. Not because I’m a partner in the project, but because I’m an educator.

  2. Bruce Thomas says:

    Kudos to Mr. Isham and Mr. Christian for the development of this much needed app. Maybe children in need of services can get better assistance if those in charge of their services understand the current language.

Leave a Reply

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • youtube
  • pinterest


Submit a calendar event